With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the meaning of (state) borders in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) shifted from a demarcation line separating the world of the East from the West to physical boundaries marking the territory of new or re-emerged nation states. The border between Poland and Ukraine turned from being a place of cross-border trade, economic meeting point and space of military cooperation under Soviet rule into a space that was controlled by nationally deployed border guards. These post-communist states entered a broad transformation process with the overall goals to transition from planned economy to market economy, from authoritarian regimes to democratic governments and the establishment of modified constitutional states and welfare systems. Following the biggest EU-enlargement in 2004, supposedly marking the end of the transformation process for some countries, the understanding of (state) borders in the Polish-Ukrainian borderland was challenged once again. While Poland became a member state of the European Union, Ukraine remained an outsider, turning the state border between these two countries into a place of contradiction, where Poland’s state borders to the East represented the ‘frontier’ of the EU, separating ‘Western’ values from post-Soviet realities, while cross-border practices with Ukraine continued to grow. Following the notion, that the transformation process in CEE is still tangible in perceptions, attitudes, and mentalities in post-communist societies, my research focuses on the voices of students from the highly contested Polish-Ukrainian borderlands. I aim to understand how borderland students give meaning to (state) borders throughout the transformation period and how these meanings have evolved in the last 30 years. My research draws from archival sources from the 1990s, oral history interviews conducted in 2018 and qualitative and quantitative data from the social and political sciences collected since 1990.
Wednesday, 30 March 2022
14.00 - 15.00
Open space and Online
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